THE WAY THE WORLD WORKS: Reimagining Our Changing Corporate Cultures
Our working lives are molded and mended by how we choose to make our decisions. As an essential part of our daily lives, we work to satisfy various needs–practical, philosophical, psychological–all necessary facets of our being human. In the world of work, the past four decades have unfolded rapidly with much innovation on the ways by which we conducted our professional activities. Our engagements and interactions with other people whom we conducted our business affairs with transitioned from very personal encounters to virtual connections. By no surprise, we have seen how advancements in technology greatly influenced our dealings and we were compelled to adapt if we were bent to succeed. Our behavioral patterns as we crossed paths with more organizational cultures have expanded the possibilities of how we spend our time and money. In effect, most of us got overwhelmed with the multitude of tasks in our hands while our resources stayed at the same levels. This has led to what Trend Futurist Faith Popcorn dubbed as 99-lives–a societal movement she originated to depict and demonstrate the very fast pace at which we perform our activities.
Since the 1980s, our local economies have begun to truly globalize as we witnessed how innovations in computer technology drastically altered our worklife. Product developments revolutionalized almost everything we needed for work–mundane things such as notebook computers and handheld mobile phones became necessary gadgets and made our dealings even more efficient. We have seen how tele-conferencing amazed and insecured our meeting rooms and we experienced how our spatial boundaries were blurred and broken by redefined work environments. Such is the experience universally-shared by the tech giant Google whose bold move to adopt a completely different work culture changed the working landscape. With their open-planned (and often misconstrued as chaotic) headquarters, Google not only disrupted the traditional work spaces but more excitingly, introduced a completely different approach to work cultures. Forbes has cited “13 Reasons Google Deserves Its ‘Best Company Culture’ Award” primarily due to their ‘unparalleled employee perks’ and their excellent corporate culture. Beyond this, they make sure that their employees are happy, productive, and dedicated. As they share their values across their organization, Googlers are given the full freedom to creatively and innovatively work in a fun and relaxed environment where they practice a growth and improvement mindset. With a very clear purpose, they thrive in a community with trust as an anchor. Undeniably, their approach dictated and contributed to their success as an organization and more importantly, addressed and catered to the overall wellbeing of their associates.
Alongside changing environments, we saw how generational differences affected business performance as we recognized the entry of new breeds of workers who exhibited new patterns of expectations and expressions. This too, redefined organizational citizenships and career planning across time. For this reason, business models need to be reassessed more frequently especially with the emergence of new industry challenges.
Our current organizations now consist of at least four generational groups: Baby Boomers, Gen X, Millennials, and Gen Z. To better organize, there are major generational differences in the workplace that business owners and managers need to recognize. The infographic platform Visual Capitalist’s article How Different Generations Approach Work outlines these key points:
In the way we communicate, generational groups vary in preference–chat, email, in-person
What motivates them–job security, salary, health insurance, job challenges/excitement, and the ability to pursue their passion
Loyalty–the older generation of workers stay longer in the companies
Why should this matter? More than ever, it has become a major challenge for organizations to identify and carry out the best strategies on how to attract, keep, motivate, and care for their workforce. This exciting mix of generational groups living a common work culture would prompt and persuade business organizations to constantly rethink and reimagine their approaches to human resource management and ultimately, reap the benefits and rewards of the resultant productivity and success.
How are we now to view the way we work given our past struggles and experiences? What then are the new norms that dictate our attitudes and actions? Who may directly influence our current language of work and by what measure? Indeed, our pace has become even much faster–it is in looking at what has worked for us in the past that would allow us to determine what would inevitably work for us in the future.
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